Lower Birth Weights Linked To Wildfire Smoke
Monday, September 10, 2012
Aired 9/10/12 on KPBS News.
A new study finds pregnant women exposed to smoke during Southern California’s 2003 wildfires had newborns with slightly lower birth weights than normal.
SAN DIEGO A new study finds pregnant women exposed to smoke during Southern California’s 2003 wildfires had newborns with slightly lower birth weights than normal.
Her report found newborns exposed to wildfire smoke in the womb were about 10 grams or .35 ounces lighter than non-exposed babies at birth.
By comparison, pregnant women who smoke cigarettes typically give birth to babies who weigh at least 150 grams or about 5 ounces less than expected.
Doctor John Missanelli, a veteran OBGYN at Sharp Grossmont Hospital said the 10 gram weight difference is not statistically significant.
“I’m much more worried about women who are smoking themselves when they’re pregnant, cigarette smoking has a really profound affect on the growth and size of the baby,” said Missanelli.
Still, he cautioned “second hand smoke, even from wildfires could make other health issues, like asthma worse in a pregnant woman.”
Low birth weight is linked to failure to thrive, chronic health problems, and an increased risk of infant death by age one.
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